Here be spoilers…
I liked Rogue One but it was a bit of a struggle. My fault for going 3D. My eyes are too wobbly for it these days. Yes, things loom out at me but often I can’t work out who the hell they are, as the action unfolds in a sort of grey murk.
What did loom out early on was a few CRIP characters. Not crip actors, you understand, don’t be ridiculous. When Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) stomps forth on steampunky metal limbs, sucking at an oxygen mask, I turned to my friend and hissed “Crippled baddie alert?” But I was wrong! Saw – who I imagined was called Sore till I read up on the characters – was one of the heroes. As was Donnie Yen’s blind Chirrut Îmwe, in a slick Force themed take on the Blind Martial Arts hero legends, sending endless stormtroopers to their doom. Our lead hero GIRL, Jyn Erso (Beau Gadson), is appealing and believably gutsy, not remotely doe-eyed, even when she gets a snog near the end.
The story is a side-plot set somewhere in the faraway galaxy, months before the one which unfurls in the very first Stars Wars with the Death Star stuff. Which I went to see as a teenager, never guessing we’d still be lapping up these new adventures.
Darth Vader is in RO, and a horrible CGI creation of Peter Cushion, who I have much affection for, being a child weaned on prime Hammer. No. Wrong.
There’s a lot of shooting and explosions, in decimated desert landscapes, aliens and humanoids alike, scuttling – and screaming – through ancient temples, dressed in vaguely Arabic style garb and face coverings. Hmm.
As the tension builds – there’s information to find for the rebels, and baddies to avoid – RO becomes loud and exciting in its grip. There’s a gargantuan battle. Several. My mouth was dropping and I couldn’t imagine the outcome. Surprisingly, most people die. Including an entertaining sarky robot called K, who like a number of the cast, is very British, which I found obscurely funny.
In a closing scene, fittingly, if sadly, Princess Leia played by the late Carrie Fisher lights up the screen with a young luminous smile.
May the Force be with us all.